The body of a pregnant dugong was found floating at the Hat Chao Mai National Park off the coast of Trang province on Thursday.
Upon discovering the its body, authorities from the Hat Chao Mai National Park found that its tusks have been slashed and removed.
Veterinarians were later able to locate the body of its still-born baby inside the womb.
Tipusa Jantagun, a member of the volunteer group for the Protection of Dugong, told the Thai Enquirer that dugong tusks are sold in the black market for as auspicious religions relics.
“This is not the first time that we have seen the tusks being removed and finding their bodies to floating in the ocean. There also never been any follow-ups to investigate these incidents,” said Tipusana.
“The dugong is an endangered species and is also a reserved wildlife animal in the country,” she told Thai Enquirer. “We were shocked to hear the news of what happened to this mother and [still-born] child.”
The volunteer group will have a meeting on Friday about the incident.
In a paper published by the Department of Marine and Coastal Recourses (DMCR), it is stated that the tusk of dugongs are sold for 10,000 baht and how they are used as protection amulets against “evil, impotence, and stinging sea animals.”
The number of dugongs that currently accounted for in the wild was 240 in 2018, according to a yearly report by the DMCR. This number was an increase from 221 in 2017.
The highest concentration of dugongs in Thailand are found in Trang province in Thailand. However, the dangers they still face are mostly from discarded fishing gears and consumption of trash in the ocean.
The official cause of death of is still awaiting from an autopsy, which will be announced by medical officials.
Credit photos: กลุ่มอาสาสมัครพิทักษ์ดุหยงเกาะลิบง, Volunteer Group for the Protection of Dugong